Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos)

Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos), November 1 & 2, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and increasingly in the United States and Canada. Family and friends gather to remember loved ones who have died. November 1 is for the children, tiny angels who have died, and the next day is for everyone else.

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas using the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. In Mexico the graves are decorated and families spend the night there in celebration and prayer.

The origins of this holiday can be traced to indigenous ceremonies dating back thousands of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. She is Queen of the Underworld. Her role is to keep watch over the bones of the dead. She presided over the ancient festivals of the dead, and she is said now to preside over the contemporary festival as well. Her image is a skeleton with an open jaw to swallow the stars during the day.

During late October for the past decade I have created a Dia de los Muertos ofrenda during my Open Studio Tour. For many of my central California coast customers, it was their first experience of this vibrant celebration remembering our beloved relatives and friends who have passed on. On my altars I place bouquets of freshly picked marigolds, "the flower with 400 lives" which I grow each year in my garden. Named cempazuchitl by the Aztec peoples, the scent of marigolds is believed to draw the souls of our loved ones back to earth, forming a welcome path for them to follow home.

This year is my first Day of the Dead in New Mexico, where we now live. I will be creating a private ofrenda where I will place photographs of my dearly departed in colorful frames, alongside an offering of their favorite food. For my Minnesota dad, a plate of snickerdoodles or divinity fudge, specialties he loved when made by his mother, my stalwart Norwegian grandmother Lila. For my mama, a child of Sicilian immigrants, a glass of deep burgundy table wine. For Marya, my "other mother", it has to be chocolate, bittersweet and dark, and plenty of it.

It was in Marya's memory that I set up my first Our Lady of Perpetual Chocolate Shrine and Snack Bar. The shrine is sculpted from clay, fired, painted and gilded. I usually balance some dark chocolate kisses on her head, and surround her with organic, fair trade chocolates, bon bons and brownies, cocoa dusted almonds and butterfingers.

I'll also bake Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead). Redolent with anise and decorated with skull and bone shapes, the oval loaves of pan de muertos fill the air with an aroma to die for! Last year, the ants found one loaf and invaded it. I set it outdoors as an offering to all the ants I have killed over the years. They seemed to enjoy it very much.

Here is a prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Chocolate, which I wrote the year my other mother Marya passed away, suddenly and too soon.

Oh, Bountiful Mother, our Solace and Comfort.
Give us this day our daily bar of dark and sweet delight.
For all the children of war, transform all the bombs.....into bonbons.
Where there is fear, let there appear.... a comforting cup of cocoa.
For those who hunger and thirst for justice, gather us together and shower us......with fondue.
When there is sickness and no desire to eat, bake us a batch of magic brownies.
For all the lonely hearts of our world, deliver a heart shaped box of......nuts & chews.
Where there is bitterness in our lives, infuse it with the sweetness of.....fudge.
Oh, Truffled Goddess of Delight, we yearn for your cocoa kisses.
Come early to our parties and stay late.
Wrap us in your creamy arms.
Melt in our mouths.
Pass the brownies.

~ PattyMara Gourley

A big Thank You to PattyMara for writing this wonderful piece for the Mind Body Spirit Odyssey.  You can find the artwork featured, and more of PattyMara's fabulous work in her shop on Etsy!

To see more of PattyMara's work, you may enjoy reading our Mind Body Spirit Artist Series Interview with her, which you can access here.

Tea Time with Buddha
Namaste- An Explanation of a Very Old Greeting

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Among the Bones ~ A Season for Ancestor Reverence

 I collect bones... Skulls and fingers and teeth from smiling jaws, I dig up, brush off, and polish smooth. Many now I have, piled high around me. I know their faces, their voices, can see their walk and hear their laughter. Inside me they breathe again. I am their blood, their skin, their sighs. These bones are the spirits of my ancestors, and among them I find truth in and of my past.

Inside this dwelling of bones, my spirit can locate its history. It delves and dives, and searches through what these bones really are:  names and faces, and words written on faded paper in old-fashioned writing.

I have come to know those who have come before, as if I am indeed holding them in my hand, solid and smooth.

Once I visited a graveyard in the most perfect little spot I can imagine. It sat in the yard of a very old clapboard church that had been built by some of those ancestors. It was quiet beneath a bright blue Spring sky.

It was during a trip to Virginia, along the border between states. A few nights earlier my older brother and I had shared the same dream, three hundred miles north, as the moon was rising higher into the night. My brother and I have this connection, and since that dream, always call the other after having anymore like it, in which someone close to us has passed away.

We took a train with my father south to Winchester, Virginia, to attend my grandfather's funeral. I was a kid, and didn't much like the looks of my Grandfather Lee in his casket. His face had fallen from a recent stroke, and I remember thinking he had been stronger. The sight was startling, and my brother and I silently swapped looks, sitting on a bench several feet away.

Lee wasn't buried in that small graveyard in the perfect spot. He was buried in a city cemetery, though also a very, very old one. It has a massive stone entranceway, and is even well known for some of its residents. Some of the bones I've dug up were buried there, in the earliest graves, away from their folks across the state line, back in the perfect spot.

The perfect spot was up on a hill… Being a kid, I was becoming restless with the trip to my grandfather's town. Staying in a motel with its concrete floors and brown plaid bedspreads, trekking around the historic little city of apple blossoms and presidential past, my spirit had gone dormant. But up on this hill, on a beautiful sunny day - the kind of day in which I always imagine the South now - I gathered my first bones.

Tall grass scratched my legs and the wetness of dew got between my toes, as I looked out at faded names on old stone markers. Then I did not know these names, and only a vague feeling crept up that they belonged to me. Like strangers I had once known, but had since departed from, they curled their fingers and spoke to me, to come, to seek.

A spell cast by the dead, my dead, and I follow backwards. I am a mirror, and like a mirror's mirror, I keep going in further, deeper, the image smaller but still as strong.

The ancestors have found me in dreams. They have whispered their names to me, brought me religion, made my heart nostalgic for places I've never been.

They have enriched my soul with memories of land and music, love and oppression. They have given me a history that begins hundreds of years before my conception; heritage.

Soon it will be Halloween – and appropriately, All Soul’s Day – and one of the traditions my family has practiced at this time of year is a simple ritual of ancestor reverence. My husband and I will create an altar – we’ll lay out a cloth, place upon it photos, favorite heirlooms, written names, prayers, words and poems, and we will light candles. It is a quiet, reflective way to celebrate an otherwise exuberant holiday, a date for remembering, honoring, and giving thanks. Celebrated beside the ancestors whose origins are known, will be our unknown ancestors. My husband will light candles to the ancestors of his adoptive family, those he knows, and as significantly will offer his heart to those who remain mostly unknown, part of a past kept secret from him.

But outside this holiday, throughout the year and throughout my ages, I have held my ancestors in reverence. I do not have an easy explanation for this, except perhaps, that I have simply been listening. I believe that the ancestors wish to guide us, wish us to know of them, and understand them.

I have often been surprised by the messages I have received from ancestors. They have shared with me tales I would not have expected to own, have blessed me with spiritual insight, and have brought me visions of religious beauty. I know too, that they had their place in my childhood. They stood as testament that death is not an end, in a time when many in my family were dying.

I can list the times when something significant happened to me on an ancestor's birthdate, a connection between me and them that has become manifest in a gold ring, a hummingbird in hand, or a packet of genealogy in the mail. It would be a long list that would at least intrigue a skeptic.

But it is their simple presence that awes and comforts, that pushes and inspires, and always in my life, opens my sky to more mystery.

~ Nellie Levine

The image used to illustrate this essay is a photo I took recently in St. Albans, VT. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics of the graveyard described in the piece. However, there is a small pic here (my great-great-great grandfather Jeremiah Reid was one of the first residents of this cemetery). Also, my maiden name is Brill, and from the list in this graveyard, my family names also include Anderson, LaFollette, McKee, McKeever, Reid / Ried, and Spaid.

Among the Bones was originally published in a slightly different form, in SageWoman Magazine

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Tarot Review: The Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night

In the spirit of Halloween, we'd like to thank Giani for his wonderful review of "The Vampire's Tarot of the Eternal Night".
Be sure to visit his Etsy shop at:


Lo Scarabeo has always made quality tarot decks.  Since 1987, this company has produced over 100 tarot decks.  You would think after all this time it would be tough to out do themselves, or to find a way to be different than they have already been.  Well, with the Vampire Tarot of the Eternal Night they have managed the seemingly impossible.  Not only have they produced what many believe to be the best Vampire based tarot yet, they have also found a way to increase the levels of understandings during readings.  I will get into all of that as we go.

Right out of the box, this is a most unique presentation.  And I say that literally, because the box is unlike other boxes.  Magnetically closed on the side, you essentially open it like you were opening the door to a tomb, a crypt, a lair.  Just opening the box already sets the stage for what is contained within.

The first item out of the box is the accompanying book.  The book was prepared by tarot scholar Barbara Moore, so you already know it is going to be good.

In going through the examinations of the cards, we are presented with something I haven’t come across in other tarot decks that I own.  Rather than rely on “upright” and “reversed” meanings to the cards (depending on which way they face when they are turned over), we are treated to multiple facets of reading, depending on what side of an issue you want to look at.  The Major Arcana has four facets, and the Minor Arcana has three.  

The first facet is the Darker Approach.  This is used to examine the darker side, or “shadow side” of an issue.  Both the major and Minor Arcana use this approach.

The second facet is the Human Approach.  This is for those of you who use other tarot decks.  This approach is the more basic, mainstream point of view of tarot card readings.  Both the major and Minor Arcana use this approach.

The third facet is the Light Approach.  This is for a more spiritual, evolved reading.  Only the Major Arcana uses this approach.

The fourth facet is the Divinatory Meaning.  This one is used mostly when doing simple fortune telling, as opposed to deeper meanings.  Both the Major and Minor Arcana use this approach.

To show you an example of these facets, let us pick a card from the Major Arcana and go through its facets.  I will choose The Tower, #16:

Traditionally, this card is about your belief system, until a truth comes about that could bring it all down.  At this point, the salvaging and rebuilding can begin.

Now, let us look at the 4 facets of this card, according to this deck (quoted from the book):

Dark Approach: “Stubborn and uncompromising beliefs or behaviors.  Unwillingness to accept new ideas.  A fragile rigidity.  Devastation and immobilization when challenged.”

Human Approach: “Expecting to find a truth that will last unchanged until the very end.  Building a belief system and being a bit surprised when it tumbles down.”

Light Approach: “Welcoming periodic destruction as a kind of cleansing, a trial by fire.  Pruning back the dead and useless to make way for new changes.”

Divinatory Meaning: “ A Warning: be aware of your limitations; stretching your limits may be risky.”

As you can see there are different shadings to the readings, based on which part of the problem or your psyche, you choose to use as the approach for this reading.  People will deeper understanding of the tarot will definitely enjoy having these levels to play with.  

Another interesting aspect to these cards, in which they differ from many more traditional decks, is that they don’t show the full complement of objects for each numbered card.  So, there are not 10 wands visible on the Ten of Wands, or 7 cups visible on the Seven of Cups, etc.  Instead, the artwork on these cards works to convey the overall idea of that card.

In the Rider Waite deck, for instance, the Ten of Swords will show you a body prostrate with ten swords sticking out of it.  Yet, in the Vampire Tarot of Eternal Night, they convey the same meaning, possibly even more powerfully, by using only one sword.

Now that we have shown you some of the cards, let us take a look at a couple of the suggested readings.  While this book contains some takes on established readings, they also include some readings that appear to be new, based on this deck and its ideals.  I will discuss two of them.

Dialog with Shadows Spread

Set up cards as follows:

1                        7                        4

2                        8                        5

3                        9                        6

Cards 1, 2 and 3 are the elements or aspects of your shadow self.

Cards 4, 5 and 6 are how your conscious self feels about those aspects of your shadow self.

Cards 7, 8, and 9 are the bridge cards, and show you how to bridge the gap between those two ideals, and find resolution to them.
Alive, Dead and Undead

This particular reading uses only the Court Cards and the Major Arcana.  FYI, this deck is one that uses a 4 card court for each suit (Knave, Knight, Queen and King).

Set up cards as follows:

1            4

2            5

3            6

Use the Court Cards for 1, 2 and 3.  Use the Major Arcana for 4, 5 and 6.

Card 1 - Alive - This is the alive part of your personality, the aspect that, for good or for bad, has an important role right now.

Card 2 - Dead - This is a part of you that is gone, that has been let go of.  Are you glad it is gone?  Do you want it back?  The absence of this part of you means just as much as its presence did.

Card 3 - Undead - This is that part of you that you wish was gone, that you wish you could get rid of, but that still torments you, possibly creating serious issues in your life.

Cards 4, 5 and 6 provide you information about those aspects of your personality.

As you can see, this deck is indeed very different from most and can offer you deeper levels of reading and meaning than other decks.  Whether or not you are into the vampire scene, these cards have much to offer.  I definitely recommend this deck.

In closing, I leave you with a few more images from this deck, to whet your appetite one last time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Review: The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween

The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween
By Jean Markale, published by Inner Traditions

It is early autumn and the days are cooler, the air crisp, and night arrives more quickly. I have pulled my sweaters out from the closet and am wearing long velvet skirts. The food I buy at the farm stand is round and orange or yellow, and satisfying in a very earthy way. It is harvest time, the fields will soon be bare and most creatures will be inside somewhere (house, barn, nest, den). We are entering the cold, dark half of the year.

It is this half of the year that Halloween welcomes in, and it is these aspects of it that inspired celebration among the Celts, hundreds of years ago. As a largely agricultural people, the Celts relied much on their farms and livestock. They prepared themselves every Samhain (the original name for Halloween) for the colder months, for dwindling food and slowing growth, and for a change in daily lifestyle. It made sense to them to also conduct business affairs on this holiday, because to them, one year was coming to an end (with the finality of harvest), and another one was being conceived in the dark womb of nature. Author Jean Markale explains:

“A shepherd people, raising cattle for milk products and meat, and raising pigs, a food favorable for procuring immortality – such are the Celts, or, at least, such are the Gaels of Ireland, the Celtic people who have most authentically preserved their original traditions. Under these conditions, one cannot help but comprehend the dating of this people’s principal holiday on the full moon closest to November 1. This is the end of summer, when it becomes important to protect the herds – of cattle or of pigs – that constitute not only the wealth but also the survival of the community. … There is, however, one fact for certain: within the framework of an essentially pastoral society, the holiday of Halloween, heir of the Celtic Samhain, is perfectly at home in the calendar at the end of the summer and the beginning of winter, in the specific neighborhood of November 1.”

In addition, it was a time of shifting thresholds. The interplay of day and night, light and dark, fertility and dying away brought with it a spiritual note. Lines could be crossed, from the seen to the unseen, and vice versa.

The Celtic holiday of Samhain, originally longer than the one night of modern Halloween, was a time of heady brews. One might get wildly drunk, but for the more serious purpose of rising spiritually higher. Deals were made, between partners, between the living and the dead, or the mortal and the immortal.

“Samhain thus concerns a complete festival, during which the religious element permeates all manifestations, even those that appear to be most profane, because everything paradoxically leads to a vision of the invisible world. In some way, the festival reduces death to the state of nothingness, even if usually there is a separation between the living and the dead. During the time of Samhain, humans see the dead who have temporarily lost their gift of invisibility. We find these beliefs again in the Christian All Saints’ Day and the carnival-like rituals of Halloween, although they deviate somewhat from their precursors owing to the slow but steady evolution of spirituality during the early days of the Celtic people’s conversion to Christianity.”

This fantastic holiday, like many other pagan traditions, influenced Christian practice as Christianity spread through Western Europe, especially Ireland. The symbols we have for Halloween today - the brightly sinister jack o'lantern; the gaudy, ghostly costumes; and laughing witches on brooms, are the result of a gradual evolution of this important, ancient festival.

Through Markale's book we can find the real legitimacy for Halloween as a holiday. It is not simply about children traipsing from door to door looking for candy (or else! Trick or Treat!). It is not simply about a reverence for ancestors, or a time to let go of all inhibition. There is a reality to it that gives it a deeper presence, and which beckons us to seek its true meaning, in addition to its true history.

Jean Markale's telling of many traditional stories illustrates this history vividly and causes us to reflect on the essential nature of the holiday. Identifying, through Markale's exploration, with our pagan ancestors, gives Halloween the serious reflection it deserves. We can look now at this black and orange night and see beneath the mischievous spectacle, a holiday of changes, of reverence, of comprehension and wisdom.

This book is not always an easy read. Translated from the French, some of the writing is dry and a little stiff.  It educates more than it entertains, and informs more than it inspires. There are no fun spells to be learned here, no spooky games, and no popular tales of hauntings – as there might be in other books on the holiday. But, it is a good thing to learn the original meaning and power of our holidays, I think. The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween shines a broader light on a very popular and generally lighthearted holiday, giving it more meaning and form than what we are accustomed to.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"The Magic of Color Vibration" an Interview with Jovita Wallace, Part 3

Question #4:
What about black and white?

I think we need to change our concepts and feelings around the Black vibration and put it into a different light.
Black is magical and sacred.

Black, to Native Americans, is a color of power and only to be feared if misused. The intention for using black must be from the light.

Raven is associated with black, symbolizing the Void. The Void is creation- all that is possible. It is the mystery of that which is not yet formed. Ravens are symbolic of the Black Hole in space, which draws in all energies toward itself and releases it in new forms. The iridescent blue and green in the glossy feathers of the Raven represents the constant change of forms and shapes that emerge from the vast blackness of the void.

Raven is one of my totems and a kindred spirit. We work together as advocates for people and animals in need of healing. Raven’s element is air, and he is a messenger spirit who I can shamanically use to project the raven magic over near and great distances.

I consider black a sacred color in healing work. It is also used to help bring a person into a state of grace, to help them reach silence to experience peace from the source.

We see that may artists wear black. The creative inspiration of the visual artist, musician, and writer brings light into the void. Color, shape, and form are channeled through the artist to be experienced as a piece of work, and this is the magic of creation. Of course, the creative process is not just limited to this group of artisans or shamanic healers. Everyone is capable every day of inspiration and creativity in all that we do.

Inspiration - an idea - is symbolized as a light in a bulb. When the light bulb goes on, the energies of the void are activated. Dark seeks light.
In illuminated color, black is the absence of light. But it is just the opposite in pigmented color where black represents the presence of all colors.

Society hasn’t been that generous when assigning the attributes of black. It has been associated with witches and demons and the black arts, and negative experiences in general. We need to change our concepts about the color black. Black can be used effectively and positively. It signifies dignity, sophistication, refinement, power, believability, and authority.

Black works for cars, but not for airplanes. We want white or silver to fly. It is right for the CEO’s suit (authority), but not the junior executive’s. We can use black to shield and to go inward, as in grief. Black appears further away. It absorbs light.

If you tend to be stubborn, rebellious and often reckless, the color black describes the energy of your personality. Conventional thinking bores you, and the word “can’t” is not in your vocabulary. This description is based on the time-honored Luscher Color Test developed by Swiss psychologist, Max Luscher, Ph.D. He tested over 30,000 people using eight different colors to develop a test that defines different color personalities.

White seems to be the opposite of black. Black and white – the great duality.
You see white and you think purity. Why is this so? White light, carrying all the colors of the rainbow, balances all the chakras raising the energy field to a higher vibration – a state of pure balance and energy flow. It purifies the body on the highest level.

Try this meditation practice: Visualize a white beam of light over your head and slowly, breathing in and out, bring the light into the crown chakra, continue to visualize the light and breathe the white light into each of the chakras, moving from crown to root chakra.

In illuminated color white is the presence of all color, and in pigmented color white is the absence of all color.  Purity, cleanliness, and innocence are associated with white. In Western culture brides wear white, symbolizing the virgin. In the East, however, it is the color for mourning and funerals. White does create a sense of space and reflects light. White light is a spirit vibration like ghosts and angels.
The neutral beiges, ivory, and cream colors carry the same attributes as white, but are more subdued, less brilliant. The white spectrum harmonizes with all other colors. Maximum whiteness does not compete or diminish the vibration of other colors when combined. The walls of art galleries are painted white to best display artwork.

White might also feel cold, bland, and sterile. This is because, as a pigment, it contains no color. Color stimulates specific emotional responses. White elicits no emotion and is felt as a non-experience.
Use white in your life when you are starting new beginnings and for the development of a new direction. You can use it to clear blocks from your path. The cold quality of white provides clarity since its energy is complete. You can also work with white to clear clutter and obstacles. To purify your intentions, your thoughts, and your actions use white.

Black and white equally represent the spiritual dynamics of cosmic energy. They represent the duality and power of the Universe.


Thank you Jo for taking the time for sharing your valuable insight and expertise with us!   Your comments about black are probably the best I've read on that subject in a long time.
I hope you will be back with us soon!
You can contact Jovita Wallace at: 

Karen Casey-Smith's stunning Mandalas accompanied all three parts of this interview.
Thank you Karen! 
Karen's work is available for purchase in her Etsy Shop.

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~ diane

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"The Magic of Color Vibration" an Interview with Jovita Wallace, Part 2

Question 3:
What are the subtle energetic effects of color?

Sometimes we may be feeling blue, or seeing red, or feeling in the pink, or green with envy. Or, we may describe something as red-hot, a black day, a brown-out, or the many more color expressions that we use.
Expressions like these indicate that we make intuitive connections between our feelings and the color we use to describe them. These expressions are cultural associations.  But, on a very personal, emotional level our response to color is through the heart, the mind, and the body and its senses. By learning to listen to our color feelings, we can enhance our sensitivity to color vibration.
When you notice a color that stands out from everything around you, or see a color that catches your eye, or find a color that just feels so good to look at, you have identified the vibration needed to balance your energy.
Color energy effects are not restricted only to the sighted. Those with impaired vision are equally receptive to these energies that are received as vibration through the aura.
Every color has specific characteristics that can stimulate a psychological and physiological response in the subtle body aura. Each major visible color’s qualities are linked to the chakra system with which it resonates. The chakras are the energy centers of our body that create the layers of the constantly changing aura. Understanding the nature of the chakras and their higher energetic dimensions helps us to comprehend the energetic effect of each color.

Extremes of emotions are often the outward display of imbalances or blockages in the flow of color vibration into and out of the chakras. Each chakra is designed for a specific purpose.

Below is a journey through the colors and their subtle energy effects that are associated with the major chakras.

Violet is associated with the crown chakra. The purpose of the crown chakra is “to think.”
The crown chakra governs the function of the pineal gland. Violet is the color of the eternal, spiritual self, made up of perfection. The center of spirituality, this chakra connects you to an infinite intelligence. This is the center for spiritual transformation, service, and living in the present.  It is also the energy field where we think too much and need to de-stress. Using the color violet helps us relax our mind and enhance self-respect and dignity. Use violet to help to still the mind and meditate.

Indigo Blue is associated with the brow chakra. The purpose of the brow chakra is “to see.”
The brow chakra, also known as the third eye, governs the function of the master pituitary gland. Known in yoga as the 1000-petalled lotus flower, it is the center of creative visualization, imagination, memory, intuitive wisdom, perception, and gathers instruction from your higher self.
Indigo blue is the greatest healing ray. All of our emotional responses are triggered here through our perception of the sense world. Is what I see pleasurable, painful or neutral? Use indigo blue to study and for memory.

Blue is associated with the throat chakra. The purpose of the throat chakra is “to speak.”
The throat chakra is centered at the energy of the thyroid gland. It is the center for creative expression through sound and is significant in matters of communication, self-expression, decision-making, and truth.
The blue vibration is used to help balance clear communication and the ability to speak truth from the heart. Use blue to calm.

Turquoise is minor chakra related to the heart chakra, and the purpose is “to protect.”
The chakra of the thymus gland is very closely linked with the heart, and connected with a generosity of life and love. Use turquoise as a refresher (equals a 10-minute nap), and to stimulate the thymus gland associated with our great protector- the immune system.

Green is associated with the heart chakra. The purpose of the heart chakra is “to love.”
The heart chakra is the center of love and harmony. This is the area for a person’s soul to shine through. This is where we live! Green is the color of balance. To give and receive love, develop more compassion and altruism, learn forgiveness, and increase prosperity are the aspects of the heart center. Green’s subtle energy gives the feeling of being free.  Getting in touch with our feelings sometimes is the hardest step in knowing what we want. Using the green vibration to go more deeply into the heart energy will be helpful in this process.

Yellow is associated with the solar plexus chakra. The purpose of the solar plexus chakra is “to do.”
The solar plexus, is associated with the pancreas gland and is like sun energy. The nervous system is influenced, and we can get very sensitive to situations. It is the center of human recognition and confidence where “I know I can do it”. President Obama’s election campaign was yellow.
We can use yellow to expand our light, show our gifts to the world, give us the confidence to be pro-active, and experience happiness.
I like to call yellow the Ginko treatment for focus and clarity. The mind and emotions come together in harmony in a balanced solar plexus.

Orange is associated with the sacral chakra. The purpose of the sacral chakra is “to emote.”
The sacral chakra relates to the reproductive organs and is strongly influenced by genetic patterning. Its connection is less spiritual, more earthly. Physical movement, well-being, and joy relate to this chakra.
This dimension is designed to express emotions, pleasure, sexuality, creativity, relationships, and social affairs, taste, and food. Orange is the color to use for feelings of depression or abandonment.

Red is associated with the root chakra. The purpose of the root chakra is “to have.”
The base chakra governs the function of the adrenal glands, energy. It is connected to passion, life-force energy, will, being stable and the ability to provide oneself with the basics of survival: Food, shelter, and material needs.  The use of the red vibration helps us physically energize and brings us into the moment, fully present. It also relates to our roots- our family, our country.
Subtle energy effects of color are inter-related with the wondrous wheels of light and color of the chakras, spinning and vibrating and always seeking balance.

Question 4:
Why are our responses to color so varied?

Because we are constantly seeking balance through the expression of our chakras, our attraction to a color(s) is letting us know what we need at any given time. The chakras can be in balance or expressing in a deficient or excessive manner to some degree. Always changing and fluctuating, the chakras are responding to our reaction to situations around us.
This is why one day you might feel attracted to green and the next day red. It can be that you may be drawn to a certain color over and over again for a period of time. With some knowledge of the chakras and some self-reflection, you will be able to identify what it is you are lacking or trying too hard to manage. It could be physical, emotional/mental, or spiritual.

In the color wheel, colors that are opposite each other are called complimentary. We can use one of these two complimentary colors to balance a chakra. For instance, anger is associated with red and the opposite color is blue. In this case anger is excessive and blue would be used to calm. Put your angry, fiery, redheaded boyfriend in a blue room where he can calm down and feel peaceful.

How’s your social life? Have you been a hermit lately? You need orange to stimulate the sacral chakra to want to get out and be social and find pleasure in the company of others.
You may be preparing for a speaking engagement and feeling nervous and stressed because you really are a shy person. Several days before the presentation, you purchase a bouquet of yellow daisies to cheer yourself, to feel a little happier. You are on the right track; you listened to your intuitive color message. The subtle energy vibration of yellow stimulates the solar plexus to release fear and helps give you the self-confidence you need. You can do it!
As you prepare for your presentation, you plan what you are wearing. If you choose blue or turquoise your audience will be better, calmer listeners. They will be responding to the subtle energy vibration of blue, which relates to communication and the throat chakra. Blue makes people feel comfortable and trusting. Still not sure of yourself, put a red scarf or red color near your throat chakra to increase the resonance of your voice.  A challenge for all of us is to forgive and love unconditionally, especially in our close relationships.
We know green, associated with the heart chakra, is the color for healing our grief and emotional wounds, but magenta is the complimentary color that can stimulate a feeling of unconditional love. The spectrum for magenta goes from pink, to rose, to burgundy. You can choose the one that most resonates with you to enhance the ability to forgive and start loving unconditionally.
If you have a cold, the best colors to surround yourself with are blue and indigo blue. Their subtle energy vibrations will give your immune system support. And, it will feel so good.
If lavender or violet has been calling to you, you may be seeking a spiritual teacher or maybe trying to get out of all the distressing thoughts you have been having lately.

Recently there was a special mask project at a local Mental Health Clinic for their outpatient clients. I was invited to participate in the project with a small group of artists. We were each paired with one of the clients. It happened that my participant was the most depressed of the group. She did not speak, and I was sure she would not come back for the second workshop. She did come back and finished her mask. And her mask was beautiful. The color she used was peach, which is in the orange spectrum. Orange is the color of joy and the optimal color vibration used for depression.

Sometimes people may have an aversion to a certain color. Although there may be a negative concept or experience connected to this particular color vibration, it is still important information. It will lead to an area where concepts need to change and healing needs to occur. The dislike of the color really says that I am trying very hard to manage and deny a particular expression of myself.
For example a man might intensely dislike pink. Society has connected pink to the feminine. Has he forfeited his creative, nurturing right-brain self?  Bringing the male and female energies together in balance is healthy for both men and women.

These are just a few examples of how color attracts and how we can use the information to re-balance a chakra. When one chakra is vibrating out of balance, it can affect the remaining energy centers.  We just do not want a chakra to stay stuck for a long period of time. The “stuck” is energy being diverted or blocked, preventing the chakra to resonate fully and the pathways of energy to flow. When all of our chakras are spinning open and in clock-wise motion, their light and color equates to a high state of vibration and well-being.

By paying attention to our color choices, we can become aware of our physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual needs. By consciously working with the subtle energy of color vibration, we can also empower ourselves and our world.

.... interview to be continued in Part 3.
Part one...

Thanks again to Karen Casey-Smith for the use of her stunning Mandala images.
Jovita Wallace can be contacted at: 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

"The Magic of Color Vibration" an Interview with Jovita Wallace, Part 1

Jovita Wallace is a shamanic healer, educator and lecturer in Vibrational Medicine.  She is the Founder/Director of Being in Balance Inc. and teaches a comprehensive Color Vibration course. Her Center for Color Illumination and Pure Tone Therapy offers customized illumination therapy – designing programs to promote color enhancement experiences using computerized chromatherapy light technology.  This is Part 1 of our 3 part interview with Jovita.  We thank her for spending time with us and sharing some her extensive knowledge base and expertise on this subject.

Question 1:
You’ve had such a long, multi-faceted career.  One thing you continue to be well known for is your vibrational medicine work in color therapy.  For those who are not very familiar with this field, will you explain what it is and also how you became involved in it.

My work in color therapy evolved quickly out of my initial pioneering research and practice of pure-tone sound therapy that began in the mid 1990’s.

The early and mid 1990’s was a powerful time for light workers.  Many of us were led to explore work in vibrational medicine. Vibrational medicine is an alternative therapy based on the belief that illness is caused by energy imbalances.

Two of these areas were sound and color. The Hopi Native American prophesy was starting to be fulfilled with the ”Coming of the Rainbow People” through the keepers of the crystal bowls.  I became one of those through divine opportunity...  While taking a shamanic course at Star Seed in Montclair, NJ, I was introduced to the sacred crystal bowls and experienced a mystical state of Being that lasted several days – being one with all in the Universe.  My higher self said, “Buy a crystal bowl.”  I listened, having no idea where this was taking me.

I learned that pure tone crystal bowl music and color are forms of vibrational medicine and validates that everything in the universe is in a state of vibration.  The frequency at which an object or person most naturally vibrates is called resonance.  Our resonance, or light, is expressed through our aura (electromagnetic field).

My work evolved.  I studied, attended workshops, and began hands-on application with sound and color therapy for clients.  My learning formula for Apply and Observe became one of my greatest learning tools.

Because the significance of color vibration was profound, I organized and promoted a comprehensive color workshop in 1997.  The audience awareness was not there, not until 2001 when I was asked to design and produce Color Enhancement Stories for a well-known day spa in SoHo, New York.

There were 8 glass massage rooms were filled with clouds of changing color emanating from LED lights.  Each 60-minute computer-programmed color vibration story was designed for a specific benefit.  The client received 100% saturation of color while they were enjoying their Reiki massage.
That year this spa won the “International Spa of the Year” award.  Finally, the years of Color Vibration work were now taking on a greater audience.

You do not have to see color with your eyes to experience the benefit.  The vibration is received through your aura (electromagnetic field) into the nervous system that sends the color vibration information into every cell, organ, and system of your body for healing and expansion.

Question 2:

What are the vibrational characteristics of each color?
The characteristics of red are associated with contraction and logic. It is a warm hue carrying male energy.
Orange has a tendency to lift off, movement, a warm color and carries a male energy.
Yellow’s characteristic is also warm and carries a male energy. It lifts away from solidity.
Green is balance because its position in the rainbow is mid-spectrum, and holds equally the male and female energy.
Blue carries the energy of peace, relaxation, and openness. Cool, female energy is associated with this vibration.
Indigo Blue, a cool color, carries the vibrational characteristics of female expression and is ready to move energy.
Violet is the blossom not yet fully open but strives for fulfillment and carries a cool, female energy.

Color therapists also use Magenta and Turquoise:
Magenta vibration transcends maleness and femaleness. This is the color of the purest spiritual energy that lets go of all concerns and worries. It signifies the aspiration to completeness.
Turquoise carries a female energy and is a cool color. It wants to integrate with the colors green and yellow.

Each color has its own unique characteristic, or vibration, that is received as information to stimulate a subtle body energy response for our highest vibration and well-being.

What is your favorite color? What color have you been attracted to today…this week or month?  The color we are responding to can tell us where we are seeking balance.

Every day we make unconscious color choices from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. We can consciously use color choices, however, to improve our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Understanding and using color and experiencing their energetic effects can change our thoughts, emotions, intentions, choices and actions.  It can also heal.

Working with color is an adventurous journey of discovery and it really is a lot of fun!  The color energy that we take in originates from cosmic energy…the life-force that underlies our ability to breathe, eat, grow, have feelings, and think. Food and drink are just part of the energy that sustains us in life.

Sir Isaac Newton discovered the seven major rays of light that we receive through sunlight.  In his experiments he guided a shaft of light through a glass prism in a darkened room. The white light separated into its seven major colors – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo Blue, and Violet.  The colors of the rainbow.

This electromagnetic spectrum, sunshine, bathes the Universe in the energy which is all around us. The energy of sunlight produces all the wavelengths of color from ultraviolet to infrared. This is known as full-spectrum white light.

The color waves travel at the speed of light and are made up of an electrical magnetic component. Reds have the longest wavelength, the lowest frequencies, and the least energy. Violets have the shortest wavelengths, the highest frequencies, and the most energy.

We see the color of an object when our eyes interpret the wavelengths of the light it reflects. What we perceive as a result of the energy is illusion – only the energy itself is real. So, when we view the world in terms of color, the color is in our minds, not in the landscape. The wavelengths are reflected back to our eyes from the objects they strike, and they are interpreted by our brains as many different hues in the illuminated color spectrum.

The human eye allows us to differentiate somewhere between 200 and 250 different colors. And not all of us see each color the same way or in the same intensity. Color is active at all levels of our being - mental, physical, and spiritual.

Whether we see color through our eye or experience illuminated color light through the aura, we are receiving information as a vibration. The logical left side of our brain focuses on form, while the more creative, intuitive, right side responds to emotion.

.... to be continued....

Part 2

You can contact Jovita at 
for more information about her classes and her work.

Thank you to Karen Casey Smith for letting us use her beautiful Mandala artwork throughout this interview.  You can find more of her stunning images in her  Etsy shop.

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